The Council on Foundations Annual Conference brings together grantmakers from all over the world to learn from each other and discuss best practices and critical issues in philanthropy. There is something for everyone at this conference, and the energy of all of us together is powerful and inspiring. This week, more than1,200 of us are in Los Angeles for workshops, site sessions, networking, and learning.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s “The Power of Celebrity and Philanthropy” plenary session with Geena Davis, Mandy Moore, and Sheryl Lee Ralph. We all know that when celebrities support specific causes they help draw attention to those causes. How can high-profile individuals help sustain impact for those causes? How can we work together to drive social change?
The Monterey Peninsula Foundation hosts the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and distributes the proceeds to nonprofits ($7.4 million last year) in Northern California. Many of the tournament contestants are celebrities/professional athletes such as Justin Timberlake, Bill Murray, Don Cheadle, Josh Duhamel, Chris O’Donnell, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Brandi Chastain, Ray Romano, Kevin Costner, and George Lopez. Our board chair is Clint Eastwood, and we appreciate the power of celebrity as it helps to drive positive economic impact to our area (picture thousands of spectators and sponsors coming to the Monterey Peninsula for the tournament) as well as millions of dollars in grant funding to nonprofits.
As we all work through the current economic recession, how can celebrities and noncelebrities continue to work together to facilitate more services, healthier communities, and sustainable impact?
Laurel Lee-Alexander is director of grant programs at the Monterey Peninsula Foundation.